In a significant development for New Jersey’s youngest residents, Governor Murphy announced expanded eligibility for NJ FamilyCare. As of January 1st, 2023, children under the age of 19 whose families meet income eligibility requirements can now obtain Medicaid coverage regardless of their immigration status. NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program, including Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These services are managed by New Jersey’s Department of Human Services. This critical legislation is part of Governor Murphy’s “Cover All Kids” campaign to ensure every child in the Garden State.
Per Governor Murphy, “Every child should have access to health care. By helping more children get NJ FamilyCare coverage regardless of their immigration status, we are working to make New Jersey a fairer, more affordable place for all to live. This expanded eligibility is an important step in my Administration’s ongoing efforts to ensure every child in our state has access to the quality health insurance coverage they deserve.”
The first phase of the Cover All Kids initiative concerned removing barriers to care. One of the critical updates included eliminating the 90-day waiting period for coverage after enrolling in the Child Health Insurance Program. In addition, premiums for families enrolled in CHIP have also been eliminated. Necessary resources regarding these changes have been distributed to various key community organizations, including food pantries, libraries, family success centers, local health departments, and others.
In the coming year, phase two will focus on equitable access to health insurance regardless of immigration status. As of the beginning of this year, standard coverage is now available for children of undocumented immigrants. With these expanded guidelines, it is expected that up to 16,000 children in the State of New Jersey will now be eligible for coverage. In addition, the Murphy administration is currently developing a grant program to boost enrollment for families who have not yet been covered. Since the Cover All Kids campaign began, over 47,000 children who were not previously insured have enrolled.
The Murphy administration emphasizes the importance of residents applying for health insurance through NJ FamilyCare if they and their children are eligible. If you want to learn more and apply for these benefits, resources are available online at njfamilycare.org or by calling 1-800-701-0710. Applicants can enroll for free or low-cost coverage for various services, including doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental care, mental health and substance use services, and even hospitalization. Applications are available online in over twenty different languages. If you are ineligible for NJ FamilyCare, additional details regarding other coverage options can be found here: GetCovered NJ.
Advocates from across the state are celebrating this comprehensive new legislation. Per Amy Torres of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, “Racial health disparities continue to persist in New Jersey. By providing coverage for our children in the most formative and vulnerable years of their lives, we are making bold strides to begin addressing those gaps and, importantly, making investments in care and coverage that prevent costly emergencies and crises further down the road. To realize our vision of becoming the Opportunity State, New Jersey’s public programs and services must grow to reflect the increasingly diverse families that call this great state home. We are doing exactly that this year with ‘Cover All Kids.'”
Continuing, she noted, “The fight for the ‘Cover All Kids’ campaign is a testament to the growing organizing power of immigrant families. We must empower those same voices to spread the word so that every family with an eligible child has the support and guidance they need to apply. We look forward to continuing to work with our State and coalition partners to ensure this program receives the fair funding and resources it deserves, both in this inaugural year and in the years to come.”
With these historic expansions, more families than ever can now qualify to receive these much-needed services and resources. If you or your family are interested in enrolling and unsure where to start, help is available at 1-800-701-0710. More information regarding the program is available here: More Info. – NJ FamilyCare. Open enrollment for New Jersey closes on January 31st, so be sure you and your loved ones are covered today!